These are from my grandfather's (Pre-1970) time with the Bell System. He originally had three, my mother has the other one.

Both still work after years of sitting in his barn, being covered with sawdust from the airplane he was building in retirement, although the one on the left does need to be cleaned up so the dial turns freely.

These are from my grandfather's (Pre-1970) time with the Bell System. He originally had three, my mother has the other one. Both still work after years of sitting in his barn, being covered with sawdust from the airplane he was building in retirement, although the one on the left does need to be cleaned up so the dial turns freely.

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Lovely old analog tech. Dumb and simple.

Yep. You can't really dial on them anymore, most COs don't offer pulse dial.

Don't rotary phones do pulse dialing? I remember I hooked up an old rotary to a phone jack a year or two ago and it actually dialed.

Yes, it dials by pulse, emulating a step-by-step relay switch. Your CO may still provide that service, especially if it's older.

In some cases, where the CO was updated recently, pulse dial may not be available and subscribers that want to use rotary phones are provided with a touch-tone translator. If you're on a VOIP service, chances are you cannot use pulse dial unless the device is specifically set up for that.

Cool! How do you use them? Do they work with a modern land line?

You would connect them to the tip and ring of a phone line, and it would be like picking up the handset on a regular phone. You'd get a dial tone and could dial just like any normal phone. Once you were done, you would disconnect the clips. They were used for testing inside a switch or on a pole when you needed to make sure the line was live. You should also be able to connect it to a live line and listen in.

It's been a while since I connected one, but yes. You'll still get a dial tone but the free VOIP service I use doesn't have pulse dial because the interface box doesn't understand it.

Cool stuff, I wonder if there is someway you could hook them up to a voip system just for nostalgia sake

[–] stupidbird [OP] 1 pt (+1|-0) (edited )

There are translator boxes that convert pulse to touch tone, so yes...but you still don't have the "hook" to allow you to hang up a call. The devices were never designed to be connected 24/7.

I guess that being said, they are still completely useful for their intended purpose, you could walk into a switch or PBX that exposes a POTS line and connect it. Assuming the switch offers pulse dial, it will do the job it did 70 years ago.